The Supreme Court on Thursday, May10, ordered the much-delayed Eastern Peripheral Expressway to be thrown open to the public from June 1, as people “can’t wait indefinitely for the prime minister [to inaugurate it].”
This is the second instance within a week when important government work being held up due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s “other commitments” has come to light. On May 8, when asked about failure to comply with SC orders to approve Cauvery management scheme for sharing of river water, the Attorney general had said that the scheme was ready but could not be approved as the Cabinet was in Karnataka.
As NDTV reported, PM Modi, after his UK, China tour, PM Modi headed for Karnataka for the high-voltage Assembly polls scheduled for Saturday, May 12.
On Thursday the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) counsel told the apex court that PM Modi was supposed to inaugurate the project on April 29, but it was cancelled due to prior commitments last month.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that even if the Prime Minister could not inaugurate the expressway by then, any further delay will not be in the interest of the people.
“Eastern expressway will be thrown open from June 1 even if the PM can’t inaugurate it by then,” said the SC bench. “[It] won’t be in public interest to delay it further.”
The apex court took exception to the 135-km Expressway, which envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal, not being thrown open to the public despite being informed earlier that it would be inaugurated by April 20, said a report in The Times of India (TOI).
The Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways were planned in 2006 following the top court’s order to build a ring road outside the national capital for channelling non-Delhi bound traffic. Touted as India’s smartest expressway, when opened, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway it will help to decongest Delhi by diverting around two lakh vehicles.
The other half of the project, the Western Peripheral Expressway, which will connect Kundli to Palwal via Manesar in Haryana is currently under construction. The counsel appearing for the Haryana government told the bench that 81 per cent work of the 135-km Western Peripheral Expressway was done and the private entity involved in the work had assured that construction would be completed by June 30 this year, reported TOI.